11 Granted Exemptions for 2008 BMW Charity Pro-Am Golf Tournament
Tommy Biershenk, Ben Duncan, Jeff Gallagher, George Gankas, Jay Haas, Jr., Kevin Hall, Matt Hendrix, P.H. Horgan III, Ryan Howison, Payton Osborn and Jeremy Pope have been granted exemptions to participate in this year’s BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament, which will be played May 15-18, 2008, at Thornblade Club in Greenville, The Carolina Country Club in Spartanburg and Bright’s Creek Golf Club in Mill Spring, N.C.
Biershenk who is from Spartanburg, resides in Boiling Springs, S.C. and played at Clemson, has competed on the PGA TOUR, the Nationwide Tour, the Tarheel Tour and won two NGA Hooters Tour titles. In his nine Nationwide tournaments last year, he made the cut seven times and finished in the top five twice (Tied for fifth in The Rex Hospital Open and the Knoxville Open presented by Food City).
Duncan is a local fan favorite who played high school golf at Travelers Rest High School and collegiate golf at Clemson University. He finished 17 th in the 2004 BMW Charity Pro-Am.
Gallagher is a veteran golfer who has competed on both the Nationwide and PGA TOURs since 1990. He has recorded two wins on the Nationwide Tour (The Cleveland Open in 1991 and the South Carolina Classic in 2000). Gallagher has made only eight starts on Tour in the last three years.
Gankas is a golf teacher to the stars based in southern California. He will be paired with Ty Gretzky, one of his students, this week.
Haas, Jr. is the oldest son of legendary golf pro Jay Haas. The Greenville native played at Augusta State University and caddied for his father in the 1999 PGA Championship.
Hall is a crowd favorite. Deaf since he was two years old, he didn’t let that stop him from becoming valedictorian of his high school or from becoming the first African-American to play golf on scholarship for Ohio State. He also led the Buckeyes to the Big 10 title. He turned pro in 2006 and competed on the Hooters Tour in 2007.
Hendrix is an Aiken, S.C. native who starred at Clemson. He competed in 24 PGA TOUR events last year making the cut in seven. He also competed in four Nationwide tour events in 2007, tying for seventh place in the Knoxville Open presented by Food City.
Horgan III competed on the PGA TOUR from 1989-94 and 1997-2000. His best finish on tour was fifth place in the 1997 Greater Vancouver Open. He was a member of the Nationwide Tour in 1991, 1994-96, and 2003-05, where he won three tournaments (the Yuma Open and the Macon Open in 1991 and the Alabama Classic in 1996). He only competed in two Nationwide Tour events last year. Of his 121 Nationwide Tour events, he has made the cut in 55 and has recorded 20 top-10 finishes.
Howison is a graduate of the University of North Carolina and has been a member of the Nationwide Tour from 1996-99, 2001-04, 2006-07. He was a member of the PGA TOUR in 1995 and 2000. He made the cut in seven of his 27 starts last year on the Nationwide Tour, recording one top-10 finish (tied for sixth at the HSBC New Zealand PGA Championships). He also has three Nationwide Tour victories to his credit (Lakeland Classic in 1997, Lakeland Classic in 1999 and the Ozarks open in 1999).
Osborn was a baseball player first before taking up golf in 1998 after undergoing elbow surgery. Prior to last year’s exemption for the BMW Charity Pro-Am, his only start on either the Nationwide Tour or the PGA TOUR came in 2004 when he missed the cut at the U.S Open. Osborn has played on the Gateway Tour and has two wins on the Emerald Coast Tour.
Pope, who is from Georgetown, S.C., did not play college golf. Pope is competing in his rookie season on the Nationwide Tour and has only played in five Nationwide Tour events over his career that began in 1994.
The BMW Charity Pro-Am is the only tournament on the Nationwide Tour where amateurs and celebrities are grouped with Nationwide Tour professionals in a four-day better-ball competition. Amateurs, celebrities and pros will rotate between each of the three courses on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with the 14 lowest scoring pro-amateur/pro-celebrity teams advancing to play Sunday’s final round at Thornblade Club. Celebrities will play once at each course on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The professional winner of the overall 72-hole event will take home $121,500 from the total purse of $675,000, which is one of the largest purses on the Nationwide Tour, as well as a brand new BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle. Amateurs and celebrities will compete for individual prizes and cash donations to the charity of their choice out of the beneficiaries selected by South Carolina Charities, Inc.
The first seven tournaments have raised more than $5.7 million for 80+ area charities.